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The sun sets over Viera

Is there a more beautiful sight? Well, yes, I suppose the sun setting over, say, Des Moines.

And that might be enough. Long-time readers of this space have experienced me ripping on Viera for far too long. I pledge to stop. Until tomorrow morning.

Camp developments: It's really hard to say much about the first day. Everybody was very positive, and several groups of pitchers got their first side sessions in on the bullpen mounds way out at the back end of the Carl Barger Training Complex, the Nationals' minor league facility. (Mission tomorrow: Find out who Carl Barger is/was and what Carl Barger does/did.) The first group: Bill White, Chris Booker, Josh Hall and Chris Michalak. Group 2: Chris Schroder, Matt Chico, Jason Bergmann and Colby Lewis. Group 3: Beltran Perez, Levale Speigner and Winston Abreu. Group 4: Billy Traber, Emiliano Fruto, Joel Hanrahan and Brett Campbell.

(Please memorize those names by tomorrow. Everyone else will throw a side then.)

What's a "side"? Usually, it's mashed potatoes, green beans. In the south, it can be collard greens (if you're lucky). Here in Viera, it's a closely monitored 6- to 8-minute throwing session off the mound. Pitching coach Randy St. Claire monitors these things with a clipboard and a stop watch and a steady gaze. GM Jim Bowden was there today too, as was Manager Manny Acta. In fact, nearly the entire braintrust was out there -- Mike Rizzo, Chuck LaMar, Jose Rijo, Bob Boone, etc. When you have 38 pitchers on the roster, you better watch what you have in camp, and these guys will be scrutinized at every turn.

Other developments: Robert Fick put a t-shirt with Ryan Zimmerman's picture up at his locker. Why? Because he's Robert Fick. (More on that throughout camp. There will be plenty of slow days. Solution to quicken a slow day: "Hey Fick, what's up?")

Tonight: Bonefish Willy's, the fish restaurant down by the Intracoastal Waterway just off US 1. Esteemed Post national baseball scribe Dave Sheinin and I dined there the other night, and it's a must-hit place for anyone coming down for spring training, especially when the weather's warm and you can sit out on the back deck (called a "Tiki deck," though I prefer not to). Jim Bowden is kicking off spring training with a dinner there, which might be his only time to relax given how many decisions he has to make in the coming weeks.

Tomorrow: What is "PFP"? The story about my apartment (which I forgot today). Who was/is Carl Barger. Perhaps a visit with outfielder Chris Snelling, not to mention whatever news developments there are during the day.

By Barry Svrluga  |  February 15, 2007; 6:12 PM ET
 
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